BOOK REVIEW: Practical Guide to Exercise Physiology

Title: Practical Guide to Exercise Physiology
Authors: Bob Murray & W. Larry Kenney
Publisher: Human Kinetics Australia, ISBN-13: 9781450461801
Details: Paperback, 208pp
RRP: $55.95 OR $41.98 for Network Members who have joined the Human Kinetics Rewards program HERE and use the promo code NETWORK16 at checkout.

Review by Tony Boutagy PhD, AEP, AES

The vast majority of books on exercise physiology are aimed at university students, which makes them, sadly, extremely un-user-friendly for most in the fitness industry who do not have a degree in exercise or sports science.

Having a solid, working knowledge of the fundamentals in health and fitness science is an indispensable tool to being an effective trainer, but how does one acquire this knowledge without a university degree or struggling through a seemingly indecipherable textbook on the topic?

Practical Guide to Exercise Physiology by Drs Murray and Kenney is a text suited for this very need. Two renowned experts (one of which is a co-author of a major advanced exercise physiology textbook) have produced a book on exercise science that is aimed at the non-university audience. Extremely complicated concepts in metabolism, biochemistry and physiology have been explained by way of text, graph and pictures in a way that can be actually understood. It is easy to read, contains chapters and sections on every conceivable topic of relevance to the trainer and, in this reviewer’s opinion, should be mandatory reading for every personal trainer working in the fitness industry.

The book is divided into three sections, the first of which covers the basics of physiology – including sections on muscles, nutrition, oxygen needs and fatigue. Section Two looks at program design, and then has chapters exploring programming for the development of strength and muscle mass, weight loss, speed and power and, finally, endurance. The last section contains two sections on special considerations: training in the heat, cold and altitude; and training children, older adults and pregnant women.

Reading and rereading Practical Guide to Exercise Physiology would benefit every trainer in the fitness industry, even those who have studied exercise physiology at university, as these concepts are easily forgotten after the last examination!

This book is my ‘must-read’ of 2016. Well done to the authors for providing the fitness industry with a text that has distilled a vast amount of complicated and technical science in a way that can be easily understood, with many practical take-home messages.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED